In a dark little corner of Manchester lays a small independent venue by the name of the Star and Garter, the air that night was cold and there was almost a wind of change, something new was about to begin. Inklings are here to stay.
But before we delve into their debut Manchester headline set, we were treated to two excellent upcoming alternative artists, In the Cards and Thousand thoughts.
First up were Alternative Stoke 4 piece, In the Cards.
From down the road, In the Cards could be heard loud and clear with an evanescence vocal style and their own signature rock musicality. There was a perfect juxtaposition of this with some songs sporting soft rock guitars and indie vocal styling. Their performance was powerful and established them as a band to watch. From those few minutes I had watching them (late arrival), I could feel the passion they had for this performance and that is one thing that truly makes an artist, not just musicality.
North London alt-metal band, Thousand Thoughts, were next on the line-up. As soon as they entered the stage you could feel the air transform, everything was about to get much louder.
For fans of Linkin Park, Thousand thoughts brought a fierce, heavy atmosphere to the venue, you could feel the power of their first track ‘intro’ from floor to ceiling and seeping through the walls.
Although an alt-metal band, Thousand Thoughts weren’t afraid to show a vulnerable side with their second song ‘stigma’ which the lead singer dedicated to his mother who was absent from the show due to illness. They may look tough and make heavy music, but there’s also so much pure heart and soul in their performance. With its passionate gentle vocals and crashing guitars, it stood out with a beaming light within their setlist.
One thing that I enjoyed about thousand thoughts was their use of soundbites within tracks which added an element of uniqueness among the other bands on the line-up. This was very prominent on their track ‘saviour’.
They were very reminiscent of early 2000s alternative music with influences of Linkin park, as mentioned earlier, and that wasn’t just in musicality but also in their excellent crowd chemistry which added to the fun and intimacy of the show itself.
They closed their set with their newest single ‘Change’ which really showcased their raw rock energy as well as their connection with the crowd. It was the perfect set for a small rock venue.
A band to watch closely in the future.
The venue is filled with chatter and anticipation for what inklings were about to bring to the stage especially as this was their first Manchester headline show. There had been an excellent response to their shows across the UK that tour, so everyone was excited. Question was, would the passion within the music shine through?
Inklings started strong with their first single ‘Let it out’ with its bold guitar riffs and gentle vocals, it was one of those songs that you could sway or nod to due to its calm nature, it filled the room and set high expectations for their set.
Moving onto ‘Deep Down’, which was emotional, with nostalgic guitar styling and relevant, pungent lyrics based around the songs main subject of toxic masculinity which this year had been a topic at the forefront of pop culture and the media. It was high energy and had the room in a wave of movement.
After the power of that song, something was needed to ease the tension and high emotion in the room. Kier Kemp, a man of comedy that evening, had a bit of fun joking around about guitarist Will (Dorian electrica) and drummer Jake being two strangers who he just plays with which got a few laughs from the crowd and had Will playfully showing Kier the finger.
It’s always nice to see bands getting along well.
‘Settle down’ was gentle in style with lyrics that dripped passion and sweet flowing musicality.
‘Let me know you’re alright’ showed a raw, more vulnerable side to inklings, especially when the subject matter was a negative childhood memory within a mostly positive childhood overall.
‘Now, I’ll need your help with this next one’ Kier said while tuning his guitar.
‘Now there may not be many of you, around 30 of us here but thank you all for taking time out of your day on a dreary Tuesday to see us’ He was very humble about this show, and although having to start again (former lead singer of concept band FVK) as an artist can be difficult he didn’t let that get his spirits down. It’s amazing the effect supporting local, independent artists can have.
‘In case it works’ was raw and passionate as well as ‘Single life’ which was a relatable track that told a story of jealousy from a person towards a couple’s relationship.
‘Holding out’ stood tall above the band’s set with a more electronic feel and flow which created a powerful tone and atmosphere which coated the venue, it was a crowd favourite.
At this show we were also treated to ‘Dizzy’, a track from the band’s upcoming ep, this track stormed the set with a mix of rough rock energy and vocals, which was different to what fans were used to from the band. For me and likely for many others it was reminiscent of the music of Kier’s last band.
Kier was incredibly interactive with the crowd, whether it be thank yous or as he described it ‘awesome banter’ which was a nice contrast to the subject of most of the songs within the band’s set.
Their final track ‘thanking you for the insight’ brought bright, fun energy and you could feel the positivity flow through the during the performance, with shiny guitar tones and sugary harmonies. It was the perfect gift to give to the crowd.
There was such a mix of new and old fans, a community of people so alike and so welcoming to one another.
Overall, for a first headline show in Manchester, it was memorable and exciting, even with some technical difficulties and minor spots of reverb, the energy always stayed high and every moment of music was welcomed with open arms.
Something tells me that it won’t be long until Inklings are the name on everyone’s lips.
We didn’t have an official photographer there but here’s a snap I took from my spot in the crowd: